Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Sewing Pattern Reviews - Easy Peeping Owl (Paper Piece Quilting)

Recently on a lot of my favorite quilting blogs I had read about paper piecing. In particular there was this phenomenal flying geese design that I fell in love with. Then on Flickr there was this apron quilt that was amazing! I couldn't see where they had appliqued them on. When I inquired about the technique, I found out they had been paper pieced. What was this?? I knew of using freezer paper to help with applique, but that wasn't it.

After some more digging around on the web, I found out that paper piecing is basically sewing a quilt top together using paper as a foundation. What is the advantage in this? Perfect points, no precise measuring, you can use scraps, and you can make itty bitty designs with a minimal amount of cursing. I myself love quilting and *hate* piecing. I'm not a type A personality so my points aren't perfect, but my OCD kicks in later and it bugs me that it's off. I've generally tried to avoid real fiddly piecing... until now! If you are like me, I beg of you to try this technique - it can really change your mind! (P.S. if you are attending my sewing night in June, I will be demonstrating the basics)

I quickly found Sonja's website, Artisania, and fell in love with the Peeping Owl. Well, actually I probably love the Halloween set most of all!

Description of pattern:
This 4 page PDF e-pattern comes complete with full instructions, and an extra flipped version of the pattern so you can create a whole forest of Peeping Owls!

She doubles as a Halloween pattern too! Ah, that’s the magic of fabric eh?

Level of Difficulty:
This is the easier of the two owl patterns, but Sonja rates this 2 out of 4 for difficulty. If you have tried the piecing technique before, you should be able to do this without any hiccups. The only tricky part will be matching up the seams of the major pieces.

This was my very first time at trying this technique and I only made 2 minor errors.

Fabric recommendations:
I used high quality cotton for my block. However, one of the big advantages with paper piecing is you absolutely can use *any* type of fabric. The paper provides the foundation, so you can use slippery or stretchy fabric without fear. I am eager to try another style of block with silk.

This is also a great way to stash bust; for this block I went through my scrap bins and picked out colors I liked. No need to buy extra fabric - hooray!

Overall Design:
I love it! I love modern quilting and owls, so this was perfect. Sonja has made this block as easy as possible, but has not cut out the style of it. With some easy fabric color changes, you can make this into a great Halloween addition too. The block size makes it a great base to make a pillow, quilt, or maybe even an accessory like a backpack.

Very clear, no grammatical or construction errors, and great diagrams.
This pattern does not contain instructions on how to paper piece, but Sonja does offer free patterns and beginning basics on her site.

Modifications and Tips:
I did some research while making this block and found there a couple ways to paper piece. Sonja's method is based off cutting the pieces into their shape before sewing. This way didn't work best for me. I bought a 1/4" ruler and would cut my shapes down after sewing the seam. I also bought Alex Anderson's book about paper piecing. Absolutely neither of these are required to do the pattern and Sonja's instructions are fabulous, but keep in mind that we all think differently - there is no "one" way. Try a few different methods of paper piecing and I'm sure you'll find one that is a good fit.

If you want to quilt but don't like piecing, you have to try this! If you are a quilting piecing phenomenon, you should have this technique in your back pocket. I really can't think of anyone that wouldn't enjoy this and as a quilter should really know how to do this.

Sonja's patterns are fresh, modern, and very accessible to every stage of quilter. I love my little owl and can't wait to make something fun with him.

***Sonja did not compensate me in any way for this purchased pattern review. She is however offering you a deal! Until the 29th of May, you will get %15 off your purchase with code: BELLE

I really hope you will give piecing a try. I'm very excited about all the possibilities and even made my first pattern this week. I'm sure you will love it too!

DMK Winners!


Please email me at with your mailing address and pattern choice.


Sonja said...

Your owl looks great Jennifer! Thanks so much for your awesome review :)

Anna said...

Love your owl.Isn't Sonja a great designer. I have the owl pattern, but haven't attempted it yet. You did a great job for a first time. I'm heading to my sewing machine now :)


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